Inder Kumar Gujral : Father of A Failed Doctrine


I K Gujral

I K Gujral (Photo credit: ramesh_lalwani)

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 02 , 2012           11.40 P.M.

Inder Kumar Gujral , the 12th Prime Minister of India , ruled the country for almost 11 months . He was Prime Minister from April 1997 to March 1998 . He , apart from his brief tenure , will always be remembered for 3 (in) famous legacies . He was the second Prime Minister of India , who ruled the country without being elected to Lok Sabha . He was member of Rajya Sabha throughout his tenure . His immediate predecessor H. D. Deve Gowda was the first one to govern the country from Rajya Sabha . His second controversial act was to dismiss BJP government of Uttar Pradesh led by Kalyan Singh . His third (in) famous legacy was a foreign policy doctrine known as ” Gujral Doctrine ” .

Born on December 04 , 1919 in the Jhelum district of undivided Punjab , he died on November 30 , 2012 in Gurgaon , Haryana .

As a student in Lahore , he was member of Communist Party of India . He joined Indian National Congress in 1964 . He was Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the Indira Gandhi government during the dreaded emergency . He allegedly refused to obey commands of Sanjay Gandhi and thus was out of favour . He was later appointed as the ambassador of India to USSR [ Union of Soviet Socialist Republic ] , now known as Russia . It goes to his credit that he continued to hold the position during the tenure of Morarji Desai and Charan Singh regimes also .

He , after returning from USSR , resigned from the Congress in 1980 and joined Janata Dal . He was Minister of External Affairs during the regime of V. P. Singh . He again retained the same ministry during the tenure of H. D. Deve Gowda . The year was 1996 . During this period he propounded his (in) famous doctrine , known as ” Gujral Doctrine ” .

In 1997 , Congress withdrew support to H. D. Deve Gowda government and it collapsed . To avoid general election a compromise was stitched and Inder Kumar Gujral was sworn in as the 12th Prime Minister of India on April 21 , 1997 .

As I have stated earlier , as a Prime Minister he supported the dismissal of Kalyan Singh government of Uttar Pradesh in 1997 and tried to impose president rule . The then president of India K. R. Narayanan refused to sign the recommendation and sent it back . Inder Kumar Gujral government had egg on its face when Allahabad High Court also gave decision against the President’s rule . He had to eat crow .

His another controversial legacy is his (in) famous ” Gujral Doctrine ” . According to this doctrine India , being a big brother , should not demand reciprocity while dealing with her immediate neighbours like ; Pakistan , Nepal , Bangladesh , Bhutan , Maldives and Sri Lanka . Without caring or demanding for any kind of reciprocity , India should give all she can with generosity and magnanimity .

Though I have all the respect for this erudite statesman , I submit with all the humility that ” Gujral Doctrine “ is flawed . 26 / 11 and other terrorist incidents are ample proof of the futility of ” Gujral Doctrine ” .

As the news of his death came , I remembered his suave and gentle persona . He was our 12th Prime Minister during fluid and turbulent times . He erred when he dismissed Kalyan Singh government in Uttar Pradesh and again succumbed to his innate kindness while propounding ” Gujral Doctrine “ . Real – politic should follow Chanakya or Machiavelli . It should never be based on utopian philosophy of goodwill and generosity .

As per Hindu tradition one should not speak ill of the dead person . But since Inder Kumar Gujral was the Prime Minister of this country and his actions affected us enormously , so it is pertinent to analyze his tenure . This blog precisely does that .

I mourn his death and offer my condolences .

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I , on behalf of all the students and staff of my acting institute , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , pray for the departed soul .

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